Long before Robot Chicken Star Wars specials or Family Guy re-imaginings there have been Star Wars fan films. Dozens are available on TheForce.net and Atom Films with more being created everyday. But what makes a great fan film? Should it be comedic? A spoof? Should it be an epic, complete with authentic costumes and effects? Of course, phenomenal fan films come in all shapes and sizes, funny, serious, or seriously funny. The classics we’ve listed here are ten of the best Star Wars fan films. Agree with our selections? If not you better have some damn good suggestions, we nerdy bastards only like the best.
Kevin Smith’s classic, Clerks is given a Death Star make-over with this animated short, Trooper Clerks. Foul-mouthed and hilarious, you’ll love Darth Jay and Silent Palpatine (or Darth Bob), the in-jokes like Aunt Beru’s Blue Milk and a missing persons ad for Greedo. It even has little dirty nods you’ll have to be quick to catch, like the Dianoga claiming to have popped Leia’s cherry in the garbage chute, eww. There’s also a sequel and live-action short, which received praise from Smith himself. Maybe a full length Trooper Clerks feature would be enough to keep Smith in the movie business?
Hit the jump to watch more of the Top 10 Best Star Wars Fan Films!
I.M.P.S. The Relentless
While learning about the Jedi and the rebellion was cool, to be honest, who didn’t want to know more about those faceless dudes in the white armor? That’s right, Stormtroopers, the plastic-armored, little minions of a much larger imperial force who couldn’t hit shit with their blasters. We might think of them as a joke, but I.M.P.S grants us a look in to their day to day stuggles. Originally planned as a sequel to the comedy, TROOPS (featured below), I.M.P.S (Imperial Military Personnel Stories) delves into the lives of imperial officers from all branches of the vast military. Really putting a face on the troopers mercilessly gunned down and sliced up throughout the trilogy. With impressive effects and animation, I.M.P.S is classy production, even including narration from none other than Peter Cullen. Who? Optimus Freakin’ Prime. Joining the empire never sounded so good.
Contract of Evil
Feel there wasn’t nearly enough Darth Maul in Episode 1? You’re not alone, Maul’s few moments made The Phantom Menace tolerable, and even then it’s a stretch. Contract of Evil sheds new light on Maul’s rise to power as he meets challengers for dominance of the Sith on a remote world. Needless to say what ensues is fuckin’ awesome duel of the Siths for ultimate supremacy, well, second to Sidious. Bonuses for fantastic make-up and a phenomenal light saber fight, plus it’s all about Siths, how can this not be great?
Ryan vs. Dorkman
Imagine two friends debating as to who is the better light saber duelist, eventually it will reach it’s only logical conclusion, epic light saber battle. Ryan vs Dorkman is that battle. Hailed as some of the best fight choreography ever composed for light saber dueling, even rivaling what’s been brought to the big screen. No fancy sets, no stunning costumes, just two schmucks, light sabers and a kick-ass duel for the ages.
The younger brother of a more famous Vader, Chad is a Sith apprentice living in a mechanical suit and suffering from asthma. He’s also the day manager of supermarket. Constantly at odds with being a truly evil Sith bastard and a respectable store manager, Chad Vader must walk the line between both worlds. Of course he fails miserably which is why this long-running series (three seasons!) is so freakin’ funny. Perfect voice work and a delightful smattering of famous Vader lines doesn’t hurt either.
Ever wonder what life was like for other members of the rebellion during the original Star Wars trilogy? Sure, who hasn’t, but chances are you weren’t thinking about Stacey, the X-Wing pilot, Pink Five. Her story is a charmingly annoying tale of a girl rebel too distracted to care about the cause. She’s got waaaay more important things on her mind, like knocking boots with Han, seriously hating on Princess Hairstyle and learning more about the new kid from Tatooine, but he talks to an invisible friend, which is a weird mess she wants none of. The self-obsessed Stacey provides a great comical narrative to the familiar epic as she travels from the first attack on the Death Star, to training with Yoda on Dagobah, to a final showdown with Vader himself. Kind of makes you wonder why everyone else took the rebellion so seriously?
Unfortunately, there’s embeddable version of these videos, so hop to their official site to enjoy the whole saga.
George Lucas in Love
How did Star Wars come to be? First there was a man, George Lucas, a college student with a dream to write the most incredible screenplay. But he’s suffering from a terrible case of writer’s block. Mingling with friends, classmates and even teachers (all of whom serve as inspiration for familiar characters) Lucas eventually meets a young woman, with a peculiar hairstyle, leading a student rebellion. She tells him to “write what he knows” and a space fantasy epic is born. It’s a charming, funny, fictional retelling of the creation of one of film’s greatest series, and who cares what the real story is, this one is so much better.
Star Wars Begins
A documentary, what gives?! Chill out, this is a film only a true fan could create. An uber-extensive look at the film that started it all, Star Wars Begins is 14-part Youtube documentary loaded with “deleted scenes, alternate takes and different angles, bloopers, original on set audio recordings and a huge amount of commentary from cast and crew, culled from every corner of the galaxy.” Following along with the original film itself, the documentary inserts the deleted scenes and the cast and crew commentary with appropriate scenes. Truly a labor of love. The whole documentary is worth a watch, even if you just need to hear Vader with dialogue provided by David Prowse. Imposing Lord of the Sith he is not. Follow this up with the other two behind the scenes features, Building Empire and Returning to Jedi. Seriously, whatever asshole compiles DVD extras needs to hire this guy because his documentary is way better than any special features or commentaries that have come before.
A Light in the Darkness
Want to talk about impressive looking fan films? Then you can’t leave A Light in Darkness off the list. The story of a young boy born on a planet in the outer rim who watches as Clone Troopers turn on the Jedi that had saved his people. Year later this same boy, now a man armed with the fallen Jedi’s light saber, leads a small rebellion against the imperial forces occupying his home world. Drawing attention to his unknown bit of the universe who will arrive first with aid, the rebellion or the empire? Hooked? Yeah, it’s some of the best Star Wars storytelling since, well, Star Wars. A Light in Darkness exemplifies the low budgest, high quality fan film and the writing isn’t terrible and the acting isn’t wooden. Meaning, it’s already a million times better than any of those shitty prequels!
TROOPS is filmed on location with the men of the Imperial forces. All suspects are guilty. Period. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be suspects, would they?
There’s no listing of Star Wars fan films without TROOPS. The mockumentary, COPS-style show perfectly parodies both source materials. The quality costumes, perfect filming locations, it’s like your watching a hilarious deleted scene from the films. Embedded with a group of Stormtroopers on Tatooine watch as they deftly handle any altercation, and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Slaughtering Jawas has never been so funny.